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What Happens to a Person Who Dies Without Christ? - Michael Heiser

Updated: Feb 27

What Happens to a Person Who Dies Without Christ? - Michael Heiser

"When the believer dies, they reside in the afterlife—that is, the spiritual realm. We even apply geographical terminology when we talk about the disembodied spiritual world (i.e. passing on, in a better place, etc.). Perhaps, that is the best we can do to process the afterlife. So where does a believer who has died reside until the return of Jesus Christ? Paul makes it clear, we are away from the body and at home with the LORD (2 Corinthians 5:6–8). It’s an “intermediate state,” a term that is a precursor to the new heaven and new earth. What we experience in death as believers when we are with the LORD is just as real as what you will experience after we have a new heaven and new earth, a globalized Eden, because that is where God’s presence will be as well. One isn’t more real than the other is. We sort of think of this pre-state as something lesser than the ultimate Kingdom. It’s natural to do this, mainly because we can’t really imagine what life is life disembodied—whereas, we can when we talk about the new heaven and the new earth. Again, both are just as real, because both are where God is. Yes, there is a difference because we are re-embodied in our glorified bodies in the latter existence. If you look at afterlife descriptions in the NT, prior to the ultimate consummation of the Kingdom (the new heaven and the new earth)—we still have embodiment language being used. When Peter, James, and John see Moses and Elijah, well, they have to be looking at something. So we get this sense that this spirit realm, the afterlife where Moses and Elijah are, God makes discernable. When prophets have visions, they are seeing embodied spiritual beings. I think this is such a wonderful concession to the believer, God is letting us know—hey, you’re still you, and you will be able to recognize people in the afterlife!" from video introduction.

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